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74. HENRY VIII: STATUTES

(A) Act Concerning the Court of Star Chamber (1529)

An act that the president of the king's council shall be associate with the chancellor and treasurer of England and the keeper of the king's privy seal. Where ... , in the same good and profitable statute[1] the president of the king's most honourable council for the time being attending upon his most noble and royal person is omitted, and not named ... to be one of the said persons that should have authority to call before them such misdoers so offending the king's laws in any of the premises as is before rehearsed: be it therefore ... enacted that from henceforth the chancellor, treasurer of England, and the president of the king's most honourable council attending upon his most honourable person for the time being, and the keeper of the king's privy seal, or two of them, calling unto them one bishop and one temporal lord of the king's most honourable council and the two chief justices of the king's bench and the common pleas for the time being, or other two of the king's justices in their absence, upon any bill or information hereafter to be put in ... , for any misbehaving before rehearsed ... , have full power and authority to call before them by writ of privy seal such misdoers, and them and other by their discretion by whom the truth may be known to examine; and such as they shall find defective to punish them after their demerits after the form and effect of the said former statute, and of all other statutes thereof tofore made and not repealed nor expired, in like manner and form as they should and ought to be punished if they were thereof convicted after the due order in the king's laws....

Ibid., III, 304: 21 Henry VIII, c. 20.

(B) Act in Restraint of Appeals (1533)

An act that the appeals in such cases as have been used to be pursued to the see of Rome shall not be from henceforth had nor used but within this realm. Where, by divers sundry old authentic histories and chronicles, it is manifestly declared and expressed that this realm of England is an empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one supreme head and king having the dignity and royal estate of the imperial crown of the same, unto whom a body politic, compact of all sorts and degrees of people divided in terms and by names of spiritualty and temporalty, be bounden and owe to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience (he being also institute and furnished by the goodness and sufferance of Almighty God with plenary, whole, and entire power, pre-eminence, authority, prerogative, and jurisdiction to render and yield justice and final determination to all manner of folk residents or subjects within this his realm, in all causes, matters, debates, and contentions happening to occur, insurge, or begin within the limits thereof, without restraint or provocation to any foreign princes or potentates of the world ... ); and whereas the king his most noble progenitors, and the nobility and commons of this said realm, at divers and sundry parliaments as well in the time of King Edward I, Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV, and other noble kings of this realm, made sundry ordinances, laws, statutes, and provisions for the entire and sure conservation of the prerogatives, liberties, and pre-eminences of the said imperial crown of this realm, and of the jurisdictions spiritual and temporal of the same, to keep it from the annoyance as well of the see of Rome as from the authority of other foreign potentates attempting the diminution or violation thereof, as often and from time to time as any such annoyance or attempt might be known or espied; and [whereas,] notwithstanding the said good statutes and ordinances ... , divers and sundry inconveniences and dangers not provided for plainly by the said former acts ... have risen and sprung by reason of appeals sued out of this realm to the see of Rome, in causes testamentary, causes of matrimony and divorces, right of tithes, oblations, and obventions ...: in consideration whereof, the king's highness, his nobles, and commons, considering the great enormities, dangers, long delays, and hurts that as well to his highness as to his said nobles, subjects, commons, and residents of this his realm in the said causes ... do daily ensue, doth therefore by his royal assent, and by the assent of the lords spiritual and temporal and the commons in this present parliament assembled and by authority of the same, enact, establish, and ordain that all causes testamentary, causes of matrimony and divorces, rights of tithes, oblations, and obventions ... , whether they concern the king our sovereign lord, his heirs, or successors, or any other subjects or residents within the same of what degree soever they be, shall be from henceforth heard ... and definitively adjudged and determined within the king's jurisdiction and authority and not elsewhere....

And it is further enacted ... that, if any person or persons ... do attempt, move, purchase, or procure from or to the see of Rome, or from or to any other foreign court or courts out of this realm, any manner foreign process, inhibitions, appeals, sentences, summons, citations, suspensions, interdictions, excommunications, restraints, or judgments, of what nature, kind, or quality soever they be, or execute any of the same process, or do any act or acts to the let, impediment, hindrance, or derogation of any process, sentence, judgment, or determination had, made, done, or hereafter to be had, done, or made in any courts of this realm or the king's said dominions or marches of the same for any of the causes aforesaid ... , that then every person or persons so doing ... , being convict of the same, for every such default shall incur and run in the same pains, penalties, and forfeitures ordained and provided by the Statute of Provision and Praemunire made in the sixteenth year of the reign of ... King Richard II.... [2]

And furthermore, in eschewing the said great enormities, inquietations, delays, charges, and expenses hereafter to be sustained in pursuing of such appeals and foreign process ... [they] do therefore ... ordain and enact that, in such cases where heretofore any of the king's subjects or residents have used to pursue, provoke, or procure any appeal to the see of Rome ... , they ... shall from henceforth take, have, and use their appeals within this realm and not elsewhere, in manner and form as hereafter ensueth and not otherwise: that is to say, first from the archdeacon or his official, if the matter or cause be there begun, to the bishop diocesan of the said see ...; and likewise, if it be commenced before the bishop diocesan or his commissary, from the bishop diocesan or his commissary, within fifteen days next ensuing the judgment or sentence thereof there given, to the archbishop of the province of Canterbury, if it be within his province, and if it be within the province of York, then to the archbishop of York; and so likewise to all other archbishops in other the king's dominions as the case by the order of justice shall require, and there to be definitively and finally ordered, decreed, and adjudged according to justice, without any other appellation or provocation to any other person or persons, court or courts. And if the matter or contention for any of the causes aforesaid be or shall be commenced ... before the archdeacon of any archbishop or his commissary, then the party grieved shall or may take his appeal, within fifteen days next after judgment or sentence there given, to the court of the arches or audience of the same archbishop or archbishops, and from the said court of the arches or audience, within fifteen days then next ensuing after judgment or sentence there given, to the archbishop of the same province, there to be definitively and finally determined without any other or further process or appeal thereupon to be had or sued.... And in ... any cause, matter, or contention ... which hath, doth, shall, or may touch the king, his heirs, or successors, kings of this realm ... , the party grieved ... shall or may appeal ... to the spiritual prelates and other abbots and priors of the upper house assembled and convocate by the king's writ in the convocation being or next ensuing within the province or provinces where the same matter of contention is or shall be begun; so that every such appeal be taken by the party grieved within fifteen days next after the judgment or sentence thereupon given or to be given. And ... whatsoever be done or shall be done and affirmed, determined, decreed, and adjudged by the foresaid prelates, abbots, and priors of the upper house of the said convocation as is aforesaid, appertaining, concerning, or belonging to the king, his heirs, or successors, in any of these foresaid causes of appeals, shall stand and be taken for a final decree, sentence, judgment, definition, and determination, and the same matter so determined never after to come in question and debate, to be examined in any other court or courts....

Ibid., III, 427 f.: 24 Henry VIII, c. 12.

(C) Act for the Submission of the Clergy and Restraint of Appeals (1534)

... Be it therefore now enacted by authority of this present parliament, according to the said submission and petition of the said clergy, that [neither] they nor any of them from henceforth shall presume to attempt, allege, claim, or put in ure[3] any constitutions or ordinances, provincial or synodal, or any other canons; nor shall enact, promulge, or execute any such canons constitutions or ordinance provincial, by whatsoever name or names they may be called, in their convocations in time coming (which alway shall be assembled by authority of the king's writ), unless the same clergy may have the king's most royal assent and licence ... , upon pain ... to suffer imprisonment and make fine at the king's will.... Provided alway that no canons, constitutions, or ordinance shall be made or put in execution within this realm by authority of the convocation of the clergy which shall be contrariant or repugnant to the king's prerogative royal or the customs, laws, or statutes of this realm — anything contained in this act to the contrary hereof notwithstanding, ...

And be it further enacted by authority aforesaid that, from the feast of Easter ... 1534, no manner of appeals shall be had, provoked, or made out of this realm ... to the bishop of Rome .... but that all manner of appeals ... shall be made and had ... after such manner, form, and condition as is limited for appeals to be had ... in causes of matrimony, tithes, oblations, and obventions by a statute thereof made and established since the beginning of this present parliament....[4]

And for lack of justice at or in any the courts of the archbishops of this realm, or in any the king's dominions, it shall be lawful to the parties grieved to appeal to the king's majesty in the king's court of chancery; and that, upon every such appeal, a commission shall be directed under the great seal to such persons as shall be named by the king's highness, his heirs, or successors, like as in case of appeal from the admiral's court, to hear and definitively determine such appeals and the causes concerning the same....

Ibid., III, 460 f.: 25 Henry VIII, c. 19.

(D) Act Concerning Ecclesiastical Appointments and Absolute Restraint of Annates (1534).

An act restraining the payment of annates, etc.... And forasmuch as in the said act[5] it is not plainly and certainly expressed in what manner and fashion archbishops and bishops shall be elected, presented, invested, and consecrated within this realm and in all other the king's dominions: be it now therefore enacted ... that the said act and everything therein contained shall be and stand in strength, virtue, and effect; except only that no person nor persons hereafter shall be presented, nominated, or commended to the said bishop of Rome, otherwise called the pope, or to the see of Rome, to or for the dignity or office of any archbishop or bishop within this realm or in any other the king's dominions, nor shall send nor procure there for any manner of bulls, briefs, palls, or other things requisite for an archbishop or bishop, nor shall pay any sums of money for annates, first fruits, or otherwise, for expedition of any such bulls, briefs, or palls; but that by the authority of this act such presenting, nominating, or commending to the said bishop of Rome or to the see of Rome, and such bulls, briefs, palls, annates, first fruits, and every other sums of money heretofore limited, accustomed, or used to be paid at the said see of Rome for procuration or expedition of any such bulls, briefs, or palls, or other thing concerning the same, shall utterly cease and no longer be used within this realm or within any the king's dominions — anything contained in the said act aforementioned, or any use, custom, or prescription to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.

And furthermore be it ordained and established by the authority aforesaid that, at every avoidance of any archbishopric or bishopric within this realm or in any other the king's dominions, the king our sovereign lord, his heirs, and successors, may grant unto the prior and convent, or the dean and chapter of the cathedral churches or monasteries where the see of such archbishopric or bishopric shall happen to be void, a licence under the great seal, as of old time hath been accustomed, to proceed to election of an archbishop or bishop of the see so being void, with a letter missive containing the name of the person which they shall elect and choose; by virtue of which licence the said dean and chapter, or prior and convent, to whom any such licence and letters missives shall be directed, shall with all speed and celerity in due form elect and choose the said person named in the said letters missives to the dignity and office of the archbishopric or bishopric so being void, and none other; and if they do defer or delay their election above twelve days next after such licence and letters missives to them delivered, that then for every such default the king's highness, his heirs, and successors, at their liberty and pleasure shall nominate and present, by their letters patents under their great seal, such a person to the said office and dignity so being void as they shall think able and convenient for the same....

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that, if the prior and convent of any monastery, or dean and chapter of any cathedral church, where the see of any archbishop or bishop is within the king's dominions, after such licence as is afore rehearsed shall be delivered to them, proceed not to election and signify the same according to the tenor of this act within the space of twenty days next after such licence shall come to their hands, or else ... , after any such election, nomination, or presentation shall be signified unto them by the king's letters patents, shall refuse and do not confirm, invest, and consecrate, with all due circumstance as is aforesaid, every such person as shall be so elected, nominate, or presented ... within twenty days next after the king's letters patents of such signification or presentation shall come to their hands ... , that then every ... person ... so offending ... shall run into the dangers, pains, and penalties of the Statute of the Provision and Praemunire made in the twenty-fifth year of the reign of King Edward III and in the sixteenth year of King Richard II.[6]

Ibid., III, 462 f.: 25 Henry VIII, c. 20.

(E) Act Concerning Peter's Pence and Dispensations (1534)

An act for the exoneration from exactions paid to the see of Rome. Most humbly beseech your most royal majesty your obedient and faithful subjects the commons of this your present parliament, assembled by your most dread commandment, that, where your subjects of this your realm, and of other countries and dominions being under your obeisance, by many years past have been and yet be greatly decayed and impoverished by such intolerable exactions of great sums of money as have been claimed and taken ... out of this your realm, and other your said countries and dominions, by the bishop of Rome called the pope ... , pretending ... that he hath full power to dispense with all human laws, uses, and customs of all realms in all causes which be called spiritual (which matter hath been usurped and practised by him and his predecessors by many years in great derogation of your imperial crown and authority royal, contrary to right and conscience, for where this your grace's realm, recognizing no superior under God but only your grace, hath been and is free from subjection to any man's laws, but only to such as have been devised, made, and ordained within this realm for the wealth of the same, or to such other as by sufferance of your grace and your progenitors the people of this your realm have taken at their free liberty by their own consent to be used amongst them, and have bound themselves by long use and custom to the observance of the same) ...; [and whereas], therefore, ... your royal majesty and your lords spiritual and temporal and commons, representing the whole state of your realm in this your most high court of parliament, have full power and authority not only to dispense but also to authorize some elect person or persons to dispense with those and all other human laws of this your realm and with every one of them, as the quality of the persons and matter shall require, and also the said laws and every of them to abrogate, annul, amplify, or diminish, as it shall be seen unto your majesty and the nobles and commons of your realm present in your parliament meet and convenient for the wealth of your realm ...: —

It may therefore please your most noble majesty ... , forasmuch as your majesty is supreme head of the Church of England, as the prelates and clergy of your realm representing the said Church in their synods and convocations have recognized, in whom consisteth full power and authority upon all such laws as have been made and used within this realm, to ordain and enact, by the assent of your lords spiritual and temporal and the commons in this your present parliament assembled, and by authority of the same, that no person or persons of this your realm or of any other your dominions shall from henceforth pay any pensions, censes, portions, Peter pence, or any other impositions to the use of the said bishop or of the see of Rome ...; but that all such pensions [etc.] ... shall from henceforth clearly surcease and never more be levied, taken, perceived, nor paid to any person or persons in any manner of wise — any constitution, use, prescription, or custom to the contrary thereof notwithstanding....

Provided always that [neither] this act nor any thing or things therein contained shall be hereafter interpreted or expounded that your grace, your nobles, and subjects, intend by the same to decline or vary from the congregation of Christ's Church in any things concerning the very articles of the catholic faith of Christendom, or in any other things declared by Holy Scripture and the word of God necessary for your and their salvations; but only to make an ordinance by policies necessary and convenient to repress vice and for good conservation of this realm in peace, unity, and tranquillity from ravin and spoil, ensuing much the old ancient customs of this realm in that behalf, not minding to seek for any reliefs, succours, or remedies for any worldly things or human laws in any cause of necessity but within this realm at the hands of your highness, your heirs, and successors, kings of this realm, which have and ought to have an imperial power and authority in the same and not [be] obliged in any worldly causes to any other superior....

Ibid., III, 464 f.: 25 Henry VIII, c. 21.

(F) First Act of Succession (1534)

An act for the establishment of the king's succession.... Your said most humble and obedient subjects, the nobles and commons of this realm ... , do ... most humbly beseech your highness ... that it may be enacted ... that the marriage heretofore solemnized between your highness and the lady Katherine, being before lawful wife to Prince Arthur your elder brother, which by him was carnally known (as doth duly appear by sufficient proof in a lawful process had and made before Thomas, by the sufferance of God now archbishop of Canterbury and metropolitan and primate of all this realm), shall be by authority of this present parliament definitively, clearly, and absolutely declared, deemed, and adjudged to be against the laws of Almighty God, and also accepted, reputed, and taken of no value nor effect, but utterly void and annulled ...; and that the lawful matrimony had and solemnized between your highness and your most dear and entirely beloved wife, Queen Anne, shall be established and taken for undoubtful, true, sincere, and perfect ever hereafter....

And also be it enacted by authority aforesaid that all the issue had and procreate, or hereafter to be had and procreate, between your highness and your said most dearly and entirely beloved wife Queen Anne shall be your lawful children, and be inheritable and inherit, according to the course of inheritance and laws of this realm, the imperial crown of the same, with all dignities, honours, pre-eminences, prerogatives, authorities, and jurisdictions to the same annexed or belonging, in as large and ample manner as your highness to this present time hath the same as king of this realm....[7]

And be it further enacted by authority aforesaid that ... proclamations shall be made in all shires within this realm of the tenor and contents of this act. And if any person or persons ... , subject or resident within this realm, or elsewhere within any the king's dominions ... , by writing or imprinting or by any exterior act or deed maliciously procure or do, or cause to be procured or done, any thing or things to the peril of your most royal person, or maliciously give occasion by writing, print, deed, or act whereby your highness might be disturbed or interrupted of the crown of this realm, or by writing, print, deed, or act procure or do, or cause to be procured or done, any thing or things to the prejudice, slander, disturbance, or derogation of the said lawful matrimony solemnized between your majesty and the said Queen Anne, or to the peril, slander, or disherison of any the issues and heirs of your highness being limited by this act to inherit and to be inheritable to the crown of this realm in such form as is aforesaid — whereby any such issues or heirs of your highness might be destroyed, disturbed, or interrupted in body or title of inheritance to the crown of this realm as to them is limited in this act in form above rehearsed — that then every such person and persons, of what estate, degree, or condition they be of, subject or resident within this realm, and their aiders, counsellors, maintainers, and abettors, and every of them, for every such offence shall be adjudged high traitors, and every offence shall be adjudged high treason, and the offender and their aiders [etc.] ... , being lawfully convict of such offence by presentment, verdict, confession, or process according to the laws and customs of this realm, shall suffer pains of death as in cases of high treason....

And be it further enacted by authority aforesaid that, if any person or persons ... , by any words without writing, or any exterior deed or act, maliciously and obstinately publish, divulge, or utter any thing or things to the peril of your highness, or to the slander or prejudice of the said matrimony solemnized between your highness and the said Queen Anne, or to the slander or disherison of the issue and heirs of your body begotten and to be gotten of the said Queen Anne, or any other your lawful heirs which shall be inheritable to the crown of this realm, as is afore limited by this act, that then every such offence shall be taken and adjudged for misprision of treason....

Ibid., III, 471 f.: 25 Henry VIII, c. 22.

(G) Supremacy Act (1534)

An act concerning the king's highness to be supreme head of the Church of England and to have authority to reform and redress all errors, heresies, and abuses in the same. Albeit the king's majesty justly and rightfully is and ought to be the supreme head of the Church of England, and so is recognized by the clergy of this realm in their convocations; yet, nevertheless, for corroboration and confirmation thereof, and for increase of virtue in Christ's religion within this realm of England, and to repress and extirp all errors, heresies, and other enormities and abuses heretofore used in the same, be it enacted by authority of this present parliament that the king, our sovereign lord, his heirs, and successors, kings of this realm, shall be taken, accepted, and reputed the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England called Anglicana Ecclesia, and shall have and enjoy, annexed and united to the imperial crown of this realm, as well the title and style thereof as all honours, dignities, pre-eminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits, and commodities to the said dignity of supreme head of the same Church belonging and appertaining; and that our said sovereign lord, his heirs, and successors, kings of this realm, shall have full power and authority from time to time to visit, repress, redress, reform, order, correct, restrain, and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses, offences, contempts, and enormities, whatsoever they be, which by any manner spiritual authority or jurisdiction ought or may lawfully be reformed, repressed, ordered, redressed, corrected, restrained, or amended, most to the pleasure of Almighty God, the increase of virtue in Christ's religion, and for the conservation of the peace, unity, and tranquillity of this realm — any usage, custom, foreign laws, foreign authority, prescription, or any other thing or things to the contrary hereof notwithstanding.

Ibid., III, 492: 26 Henry VIII, c. I.

(H) Statute of Uses (1530)[8]

Where, by the common laws of this realm, lands, tenements, and hereditaments be not devisable by testament, nor ought to be transferred from one to another but by solemn livery and seisin ... , yet, nevertheless, divers and sundry imaginations, subtle inventions, and practices have been used whereby the hereditaments of this realm have been conveyed from one to another by fraudulent feoffments, fines, recoveries, and other assurances craftily made to secret uses, intents, and trusts, and also by wills and testaments sometime made by ... words, sometime by signs and tokens, and sometime by writing ...; for the extirping and extinguishment of all such ... , and to the intent that the king's highness or any other his subjects of this realm shall not in any wise hereafter ... be deceived, damaged, or hurt by reason of such trusts, uses, or confidences ...: it may please the king's most royal majesty that it may be enacted by his highness, by the assent of the lords spiritual and temporal and the commons in this present parliament assembled, and by authority of the same ... , that, where any person or persons stand or be seised or at any time hereafter shall happen to be seised of and in any honours, castles, manors, lands, tenements, rents, services, reversions, remainders, or other hereditaments, to the use, confidence, or trust of any other person or persons, or of any body politic, by reason of any bargain, sale, feoffment, fine, recovery, covenant, contract, agreement, will, or otherwise ... , in every such case all and every such person and persons and bodies politic ... shall from henceforth stand and be seised, deemed, and adjudged in lawful seisin, estate, and possession of and in the same honours [etc.] ... to all intents, constructions, and purposes in the law ...; and that the estate, right, title, and possession that was in such person or persons that were or shall be hereafter seised of any lands, tenements, or hereditaments to the use, confidence, or trust of any such person or persons, or of any body politic, be from henceforth clearly deemed and adjudged to be in him or them that have or hereafter shall have such use, confidence, or trust....[9]

Ibid., III, 539 f.: 27 Henry VIII, c. 10.

(I) Beggars Act (1536)

An act for punishment of sturdy vagabonds and beggars.... And forasmuch as it was not provided in the said act[10] how and in what wise the said poor people and sturdy vagabonds should be ordered at their repair and at their coming into their countries, nor how the inhabitants of every hundred should be charged for the relief of the same poor people, nor yet for the setting and keeping in work and labour of the aforesaid valiant vagabonds at their said repair into every hundred of this realm: it is therefore now ordained and established and enacted ... that all the governors and ministers of ... cities, shires, towns, hundreds, wapentakes, lathes, rapes, ridings, tithings, hamlets, and parishes, as well within liberties as without, shall not only succour, find, and keep all and every of the same poor people by way of voluntary and charitable alms ... , in such wise as none of them of very necessity shall be compelled to wander idly and go openly in begging to ask alms in any of the same cities, shires, towns, and parishes, but also to cause and to compel all and every the said sturdy vagabonds and valiant beggars to be set and kept to continual labour, in such wise as by their said labours they and every of them may get their own livings with the continual labour of their own hands....

Item, it is ordained and enacted ... that all and every the mayors, governors, and head officers of every city, borough, and town corporate and the churchwardens or two others of every parish of this realm shall in good and charitable wise take such discreet and convenient order, by gathering and procuring of such charitable and voluntary alms of the good Christian people within the same with boxes every Sunday, holy day, and other festival day or otherwise among themselves, in such good and discreet wise as the poor, impotent, lame, feeble, sick, and diseased people, being not able to work, may be provided, holpen, and relieved; so that in no wise they nor none of them be suffered to go openly in begging, and that such as be lusty, or having their limbs strong enough to labour, may be daily kept in continual labour, whereby every one of them may get their own substance and living with their own hands....

And for the avoiding of all such inconveniences and infections as oftentime have and daily do chance amongst the people by common and open doles, and that most commonly unto such doles many persons do resort which have no need of the same, it is therefore enacted ... that no manner of person or persons shall make or cause to be made any such common or open doles, or shall give any ready money in alms, otherwise than to the common boxes and common gatherings ... , to and for the putting in ... due execution ... this present act, upon pain to ... forfeit ten times the value of all such ready money as shall be given in alms contrary to the tenor and purport of the same; and that every person or persons of this realm, bodies politic corporate, and others that be bound or charged yearly, monthly, or weekly to give or to distribute any ready money, bread, victual, or other sustentation to poor people in any place within this realm, shall ... give and distribute the same money or the value of all such bread, victual, or sustentation unto such common boxes, to the intent the same may be employed towards the relieving of the said poor, needy, sick, sore, and indigent persons, and also towards the setting in work of the said sturdy and idle vagabonds and valiant beggars....

Ibid., III, 558 f.: 27 Henry VIII, c. 25.

(J) Act for the Government of Wales (1536)

An act for laws and justice to be ministered in Wales in like form as it is in this realm. Albeit the dominion, principality, and country of Wales justly and righteously is and ever hath been incorporated, annexed, united, and subject to and under the imperial crown of this realm as a very member and joint of the same, wherefore the king's most royal majesty of ... very right is very head, king, lord, and ruler; yet, notwithstanding, because that in the same country, principality, and dominion divers rights, usages, laws, and customs be far discrepant from the laws and customs of this realm, and also because that the people of the same dominion have and do daily use a speech nothing like nor consonant to the natural mother tongue used within this realm, some rude and ignorant people have made distinction and diversity between the king's subjects of this realm and his subjects of the said dominion ... of Wales, whereby great discord ... and sedition hath grown between his said subjects: his highness, therefore, of a singular zeal, love, and favour that he beareth towards his subjects of his said dominion of Wales, minding and intending to reduce them to the perfect order, notice, and knowledge of his laws of this his realm, and utterly to extirp all and singular the sinister uses and customs differing from the same, and to bring his said subjects of this his realm and of his said dominion of Wales to an amicable concord and unity, hath by the deliberate advice, consent, and agreement of the lords spiritual and temporal and the commons in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same ... , established that his said country or dominion of Wales shall be, stand, and continue forever from henceforth incorporated, united, and annexed to and with this his realm of England; and that all and singular person and persons born and to be born in the said ... dominion of Wales shall have, enjoy, and inherit all and singular freedoms, liberties, rights, privileges, and laws within this realm and other the king's dominions, as other the king's subjects naturally born within the same have, enjoy, and inherit; and that all and singular person and persons inheritable to any manors, lands, tenements, rents, reversions, services, or other hereditaments which shall descend after the feast of All Saints next coming within the said ... dominion of Wales, or within any particular lordship part or parcel of the said ... dominion of Wales, shall forever from and after the said feast of All Saints inherit and be inheritable to the same manors [etc.] ... after the English tenure, without division or partition, and after the form of the laws of this realm of England, and not after any tenure nor after the form of any Welsh laws or customs; and that the laws, ordinances, and statutes of this realm of England forever, and none other laws ... , from and after the said feast of All Saints ... , shall be had, used, practised, and executed in the said ... dominion of Wales and every part thereof in like manner, form, and order as they are and shall be ... executed in this realm and in such like manner and form as hereafter by this act shall be further established and ordained....[11]

Also be it enacted ... that all justices, commissioners, sheriffs, coroners ... , and their lieutenants, and all other officers and ministers of the laws, shall proclaim and keep the sessions, courts, hundreds, leets, sheriff's courts, and all other courts in the English tongue, and all oaths of officers, juries, and inquests, and all other affidavits, verdicts, and wagers of law to be given and done in the English tongue; and also that from henceforth no person or persons that use the Welsh speech or language shall have or enjoy any manner office or fees within the realm of England, Wales, or other the king's dominions, upon pain of forfeiting the same offices or fees, unless he or they use and exercise the speech or language of English....[12]

Ibid., III, 563 f.: 27 Henry VIII, c. 26.

(K) Statute of Proclamations (1539)[13]

An act that proclamations made by the king shall be obeyed. Forasmuch as the king's most royal majesty, for divers considerations, by the advice of his council hath heretofore set forth divers and sundry his grace's proclamations, as well for and concerning divers and sundry articles of Christ's religion as for an unity and concord to be had amongst the loving and obedient subjects of this his realm and other his dominions, and also concerning the advancement of his commonwealth and good quiet of his people (which nevertheless divers and many froward, wilful, and obstinate persons have wilfully contemned and broken, not considering what a king by his royal power may do, and for lack of a direct statute and law to coerce offenders to obey the said proclamations ...); considering also that sudden causes and occasions fortune many times which do require speedy remedies, and that by abiding for a parliament in the meantime might happen great prejudice to ensue to the realm; and weighing also that his majesty, which by the kingly and regal power given him by God may do many things in such cases, should not be driven to extend the liberty and supremacy of his regal power and dignity by wilfulness of froward subjects: it is therefore thought in manner more than necessary that the king's highness of this realm for the time being, with the advice of his honourable council, should make and set forth proclamations for the good and politic order and governance of this his realm of England, Wales, and other his dominions, from time to time for the defence of his regal dignity and the advancement of his commonwealth and good quiet of his people, as the cases of necessity shall require; and that an ordinary law should be provided, by the assent of his majesty and parliament, for the due punishment, correction, and reformation of such offences and disobediences. Be it therefore enacted ... that always the king for the time being, with the advice of his honourable council, whose names hereafter followeth, or with the advice of the more part of them, may set forth at all times by authority of this act his proclamations, under such penalties and pains and of such sort as to his highness and his said honourable council or the more part of them shall see[m] necessary and requisite; and that those same shall be obeyed, observed, and kept as though they were made by act of parliament for the time in them limited, unless the king's highness dispense with them or any of them under his great seal.

Provided always that the words, meaning, and intent of this act be not understood, interpretate, construed, or extended that by virtue of it any of the king's liege people ... should have any of his or their inheritances, lawful possessions, offices, liberties, privileges, franchises, goods, or chattels taken from them ... , nor by virtue of the said act suffer any pains of death, other than shall be hereafter in this act declared; nor that, by any proclamation to be made by virtue of this act, any acts, common laws, standing at this present time in strength and force, nor yet any lawful or laudable customs of this realm ... shall be infringed, broken, or subverted; and specially all those acts standing this hour in force which have been made in the king's highness's time; but that every such person ... shall stand and be in the same state and condition, to every respect and purpose, as if this act or proviso had never been had or made ... , except such persons which shall offend any proclamation to be made by the king's highness, his heirs, or successors, for and concerning any kind of heresies against Christian religion....

And be it further enacted ... that, if any person or persons ... at any time hereafter do wilfully offend and break, or obstinately not observe and keep, any such proclamation ... , then all and every such offender or offenders — being thereof ... convicted by confession or lawful witness and proofs before the archbishop of Canterbury, metropolitan, the chancellor of England, the lord treasurer of England, the president of the king's most honourable council, the lord privy seal, the great chamberlain of England, [the] lord admiral, [the] lord steward or grand master, [the] lord chamberlain of the king's most honourable household, two other bishops being of the king's council (such as his grace shall appoint for the same), the secretary, the treasurer, and [the] controller of the king's most honourable household, the master of the horse, the two chief judges, and the master of the rolls for the time being, the chancellor of the augmentations, the chancellor of the duchy, the chief baron of the exchequer, the two general surveyors, the chancellor of the exchequer, the under-treasurer of the same, the treasurer of the king's chamber for the time being, in the star chamber at Westminster or elsewhere, or at least before the half of the number afore rehearsed, of which number the lord chancellor, the lord treasurer, the lord president of the king's most honourable council, the lord privy seal, the chamberlain of England, the lord admiral, the two chief judges for the time being, or two of them, shall be two — shall lose and pay such penalties, forfeitures of sums of money ... , and also suffer such imprisonment of his body, as shall be expressed, mentioned, and declared in any such proclamation....

Ibid, III, 726 f.: 31 Henry VIII, c. 8.

(L) Act Dissolving the Greater Monasteries (1539)

An act for dissolution of abbeys. Where divers and sundry abbots, priors, abbesses, prioresses, and other ecclesiastical governors and governesses of divers monasteries, abbacies, priories, nunneries, colleges, hospitals, houses of friars, and other religious and ecclesiastical houses and places within this our sovereign lord the king's realm of England and Wales, of their own free and voluntary minds, good wills, and assents, without constraint, coercion, or compulsion of any manner of person or persons, since the fourth day of February, the twenty-seventh year of the reign of our now most dread sovereign lord, by the due order and course of the common laws of this his realm of England, and by their sufficient writings of record under their convent and common seals, have severally given, granted, and by the same their writings severally confirmed all their said monasteries [etc.] ... , and all their sites, circuits, and precincts of the same, and all and singular their manors, lordships, granges, meses, lands, tenements, meadows, pastures, rents, reversions, services, woods, tithes, pensions, portions, churches, chapels, advowsons, patronage, annuities, rights, entries, conditions, commons, leets, courts, liberties, privileges, and franchises, appertaining or in any wise belonging to any such monastery [etc.] ... , to have and to hold all the said monasteries [etc.] ... , and all other the premises, to our said sovereign lord, his heirs and successors, forever; and the same their said monasteries [etc.] ... , and other the premises, voluntarily, as is aforesaid, have renounced, left, and forsaken ...: be it therefore enacted ... that the king, our sovereign lord, shall have, hold, possess, and enjoy to him, his heirs, and successors, forever all and singular such late monasteries [etc.] ... , which since the said fourth day of February ... have been dissolved ... , or by any other mean come to his highness; and by the same authority and in like manner shall have, hold, possess, and enjoy all the ... hereditaments which appertained or belonged to the said late monasteries [etc.] ... in as large and ample manner and form as the late abbots, priors, abbesses, prioresses, and other ecclesiastical governors and governesses of such late monasteries [etc.] ... had, held, or occupied ... their said late monasteries [etc.] ... at the time of the said dissolution ... , or by any other manner of mean coming of the same to the king's highness since the fourth day of February above specified.

And it is further enacted by the authority abovesaid that, not only all the said late monasteries [etc.] ... , but also all other monasteries [etc.] ... which hereafter shall happen to be dissolved ... , and also all the ... hereditaments, whatsoever they be, belonging or appertaining to the same or any of them, whensoever and as soon as they shall be dissolved ... , shall be vested, deemed, and adjudged by authority of this present parliament in the very actual and real seisin and possession of the king our sovereign lord, his heirs, and successors, forever....

And be it also enacted by authority aforesaid that all the said late monasteries [etc.] ... which be dissolved ... , except such thereof as be come to the king's hands by attainder or attainders of treason, and all the said monasteries [etc.] ... which hereafter shall happen to be dissolved ... , and all ... hereditaments, whatsoever they be, belonging to the same or to any of them, except such thereof which shall happen to come to the king's highness by attainder or attainders of treason, shall be in the order, survey, and governance of our said sovereign lord the king's court of augmentations of the revenues of his crown....

Ibid., III, 733 f.: 31 Henry VIII, c. 13.

(M) Statute of the Six Articles (1539)

An act abolishing diversity in opinions. Where the king's most excellent majesty is by God's law supreme head immediately under Him of this whole Church and Congregation of England, intending the conservation of the same Church and Congregation in a true, sincere, and uniform doctrine of Christ's religion ... , and ... hath therefore caused and commanded this his most high court of parliament, for sundry and many urgent causes and considerations, to be at this time summoned, and also a synod and convocation of all the archbishops, bishops, and other learned men of the clergy of this his realm to be in like manner assembled; and forasmuch as in the said parliament, synod, and convocation there were certain articles, matters, and questions proponed and set forth touching Christian religion ...: whereupon, after a great and long deliberate and advised disputation and consultation had and made concerning the said articles, as well by the consent of the king's highness as by the assent of the lords spiritual and temporal and other learned men of his clergy in their convocation, and by the consent of the commons in this present parliament assembled, it was and is finally resolved, accorded, and agreed in manner and form following — that is to say, first, that in the most blessed sacrament of the altar, by the strength and efficacy of Christ's mighty word, it being spoken by the priest, is present really, under the form of bread and wine, the natural body and blood of our Saviour Jesu Christ, conceived of the Virgin Mary, and that after the consecration there remaineth no substance of bread and wine, nor any other substance but the substance of Christ, God and man; secondly, that communion in both kinds is not necessary ad salutem by the law of God to all persons, and that it is to be believed and not doubted of but that in the flesh under form of bread is the very blood, and with the blood under form of wine is the very flesh, as well apart as though they were both together; thirdly, that priests, after the order of priesthood received as afore, may not marry by the law of God; fourthly, that vows of chastity or widowhood by man or woman made to God advisedly ought to be observed by the law of God, and that it exempteth them from other liberties of Christian people which without that they might enjoy; fifthly, that it is meet and necessary that private masses be continued and admitted in this the king's English Church and Congregation, as whereby good Christian people ordering themselves accordingly do receive both godly and goodly consolations and benefits, and it is agreeable also to God's law; sixthly, that auricular confession is expedient and necessary to be retained and continued, used, and frequented, in the Church of God....

And be it further enacted ... that, if any person or persons ... contemn or contemptuously refuse, deny, or abstain to be confessed at the time commonly accustomed within this realm and Church of England, or contemn or contemptuously refuse, deny, or abstain to receive the holy and blessed sacrament abovesaid at the time commonly used and accustomed for the same, that then every such offender ... shall suffer such imprisonment and make such fine and ransom to the king our sovereign lord and his heirs as by his highness or by his or their council shall be ordered and adjudged in that behalf; and if any such offender ... do eftsoons[14] ... refuse ... to be confessed or to be communicate ... , that then every such offence shall be deemed and adjudged felony, and the offender ... shall suffer pains of death, and lose and forfeit all his ... goods, lands, and tenements, as in cases of felony....

Ibid., III, 739 f.: 31 Henry VIII, c. 14.

(N) Third Act of Succession (1543)[15]

An act concerning the establishment of the king's majesty's succession in the imperial crown of the realm.... Forasmuch as our said most dread sovereign lord the king, upon good and just grounds and causes, intendeth by God's grace to make a voyage royal in his majesty's most royal person into the realm of France against his ancient enemy the French king, his highness, most prudently and wisely considering and calling to his remembrance how this realm standeth at this present time in the case of succession ... , recognizing and knowledging also that it is the only pleasure and will of Almighty God how long his highness or his said entirely beloved son Prince Edward shall live, and whether the said prince shall have heirs of his body lawfully begotten or not, or whether his highness shall have heirs begotten and procreated between his majesty and his said most dear and entirely beloved wife, Queen Katherine that now is, or any lawful heirs and issues hereafter of his own body begotten by any other his lawful wife; and albeit that the king's most excellent majesty, for default of such heirs as be inheritable by the said act, might ... give and dispose the said imperial crown and other the premises by his letters patents under his great seal, or by his last will in writing signed with his most gracious hand, to any person or persons of such estate therein as should please his highness to limit and appoint; yet to the intent that his majesty's disposition and mind therein should be openly declared and manifestly known and notified as well to the lords spiritual and temporal as to all other his loving and obedient subjects of this his realm, to the intent that their assent and consent might appear to concur with thus far as followeth of his majesty's declaration in this behalf: his majesty therefore thinketh convenient, afore his departure beyond the seas, that it be enacted ... that, in case it shall happen to the king's majesty and the said excellent prince, his yet only son ... and heir apparent, to decease without heir of either of their bodies lawfully begotten (as God defend!) ... , that then the said imperial crown and all other the premises shall be to the lady Mary, the king's highness's daughter and to the heirs of the body of the same lady Mary lawfully begotten, with such conditions as by his highness shall be limited by his letters patents under his great seal, or by his majesty's last will in writing signed with his gracious hand; and for default of such issue, the said imperial crown and other the premises shall be to the lady Elizabeth, the king's second daughter, and to the heirs of the body of the said lady Elizabeth lawfully begotten, with such conditions [etc.] ...[16 ]

Ibid., III, 955: 35 Henry VIII, c. 1.


[1] 3 Henry VII, c. I (no. 73B).

[2] No. 64F.

[3] Practice.

[4] The preceding document.

[5] 23 Henry VIII, c. 20, which had provisionally restrained the payment of annates.

[6] No. 64F.

[7] The king's heirs are enumerated in exact order of succession: first the heirs male and then the heirs female, beginning with Elizabeth.

[8] See no. 64E; and for comment on the law of uses, Holdsworth, History of English Law, IV, 449-73.

[9] Other articles make specific application of this principle and establish a number of exceptions.

[10] 22 Henry VIII, c. 12.

[11] The next fifteen sections describe the organization of counties, lordships, towns, parishes, and the like in the different parts of Wales.

[12] Section 22 provides for the representation of Welsh counties and boroughs in the English house of commons, allotting two knights to the county of Monmouth, one knight to each of the other counties, and one burgess to each of the county towns except Merioneth.

[13] Repealed immediately after the death of Henry VIII as a bid for popularity on the part of Edward VI's council. On the significance of the statute, see E. R. Adair, in the English Historical Review, XXXII, 34 f.; also Pickthorn, Early Tudor Government, Henry VIII, pp. 414 f.

[14] Again.

[15] A second Act of Succession (1536), necessitated by the king's marriage to Jane Seymour, had included additional provisions, some of which are here rehearsed.

[16] In default of the heirs mentioned, the king might determine the succession by his letters patent or will, as provided in the act of 1536 (cf. no. 76).


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